The mountains of north Alabama are home to me, and there are many beautiful places there to visit, still largely untouched by developers or even park fences. There is a spot in the northeast corner of the State where local folks claim that failed politicians go to ponder their fate. It is a high cliff with a flat top that one can go out and sit on–even dangle one’s legs over into the hundreds of feet of thin air and look down into a gorgeous, cavernous valley below. No fences.
I’ve been there a few times, mostly to enjoy the silence and the beauty. On a sunny day, there are always hawks riding the columns of warm air up, higher and higher. These “thermals” are created when the sun warms the ground below which then warms the air and forms columns of warm air that can stretch up as high as a mile. The force of these therms is powerful enough to support birds that simply open their wings. No work required. The thermal does almost all of the work. Hawks that migrate in the winter actually do much of their travelling this way. They ride a thermal up to it’s highest point, fly off of it and glide down to where they catch the next thermal, and so forth. It makes what would be a long, arduous journey much easier by taking advantage of the help that is naturally created by the interaction of the Sun and the Earth.
Life just might be providing us some metaphorical thermals today. The interactions of life may create the conditions that we need to soar for a while on what others have already provided, allow us to glide from one point to another without much work. The supportive energy and creativity of the world and of others are all around us, and yet they can be as invisible as the thermals that the hawks ride every day. We don’t have to do it all, all alone, all the time. As we fly today, let’s be on the look out for the help that has already been created for us–and receive it with grateful hearts.